Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Darling Clandestine: Inked

Darling Clandestine is a small indie perfume house that operates out of Etsy and does a pre-order for a few scents at a time. I purchased this scent when it popped up due to the love it gets from various fragrance lovers. Scents hover around $19 for a 15ml bottle or $7-$8 for a one dram vial. 

Inked- Notes: Sea salt, leather, communion wine and raw skin.

Sniffing from the bottle is reminiscent of sipping from a cold pewter goblet that has been rinsed in a chilled frothy sea and then filled with watered down wine. A touch mineral and sweetly musky. Wet on the skin the wine swishes in a leather wineskin for a moment and then sea spray feathers salt crystals onto leather pouch. On my skin the scent fades in and out between a dark musky wine and a salt encrusted strip of rawhide leather. I have heard this scent referred to as a sexy merman and I can get that. For my chemistry it comes off more as an evening of debauchery, wine soaked memories and sweet salty skin musk and leather. 

It is unique in my collection and I enjoy the aesthetic of Darling Clandestine. I have Supernova on hand too. I plan to review it in the future as well. Do you have any wine centric scents that you enjoy?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Beau: Fabric Book Covers

Jay sent me a birthday box last month and she included a really cool squishy book cover (the mushroom one in the middle) called a Book Beau. I immediately put my current read, Murder on the Orient Express, in it and I found it to be a great way to keep my book in better condition while it was rattling around in my purse. Soon I found I was picking my books in order of size so that I could use the book cover. I set out to see if they came in other sizes and happily they do! Currently there are 3 sizes, mini (6 x 8.5), indie (7.5 x 10) and XL (8 x 10.5). 

The mini size usually runs at a $15 price point and is great for paper backs and e-readers. I got this particular spider web design on sale for $10.50 (at the time of writing it is still available- both in the peachy pink colorway and a grey shade). Jay mentioned to me she picked the one she gifted me at a book convention a little while ago. Since then it looks like they added an elastic and button feature to keep the books more snug. The label in the corner has changed since too.

The indie size is perfect for medium sized hardbacks and larger paperbacks. This larger Maggie Stiefvater fits perfectly in it. It might not look to, but that is just because I already have a book in it so it makes it appear smaller. Indies are priced at $20, but there are a few patterns on sale for $14.

This is the XL and the biggest size they offer right now. This is great for those beefy books you might have. My version of Pillars of the Earth won't fit in here but it will hold the vast majority of my larger reads. The XL size is normally $25 but this skull pattern is on sale for $17.50, though I do think it is sold out in this size. There are other XLs on sale though. 

For reference, Caraval is a huge book and fits in there perfectly. I am using this book cover right now to hold All the Light We Cannot See (this book is flipping amazing by the way). 

Book Beau does do pre-orders for special fabrics and collections or you can purchase from in-stock items. I recommend you spin the pop-up wheel for a discount. I earned 25% off my sale priced order so I bought two book covers for about $20 shipped. You also get a 10% off coupon for signing up for their newsletter. I definitely plan on picking up maybe one more of each size as new fabrics come in. These are nicely padded and well made, but I am sure with regular use it will be nice to have a back up. 

Do you use book covers? My friend Tricia, who was a librarian in the past- I love bookish friends, has this fun crimping/embossing tool that allows her to "stamp" her name into the first page of each book and it says something like "from the library of Tricia."

 Photo from Horchow.com ($26)

I love this handmade copper reading ring (30 pounds) from Rising Tides Jewellery. I might have to pick it up too.

 Do you have any neat bookish accessories? 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Arcana Wildcraft: Devilish, A Terrible Enchantment and Quelle Horreau

Quelle Horreur- Notes: Black musk, French tobacco, sweet ale, gardenia, sage and orris root. Only available as a 3ml as a gift with purchase.
Moon white gardenia blooming under a tarry black orris night is the mirage that rises from the vial when inhaled. Graced on the skin, a leather pouch of dark sticky tobacco leaves rests on a mossy stone bench in a neglected French Quarter garden. Herbs, leggy and spindly, reseed themselves, propagating under silver strands of Spanish moss, chandeliers hanging from oak trees lit with fireflies. Creamy gardenias open up their tender hidden hearts to the gibbous moon. Tarry orris and black musk dwell in the shadowy corners and underbrush of the ancient garden where goblins and spites rustle in their warrens. An inky, almost creosote note comes from those mystical burrows. What happened to the soul who left behind the leather pouch?

What is quelle horreur is that it isn't available in a full sized bottle for sale. I would buy it up lighting fast. This is one dark and magical southern gardenia and tobacco scent. It smells like an Anne Rice novel.

Devilish- Notes: Shaking off vanilla's reputation for namby pambyness, this infernally dark and smoky fragrance comes complete with licks of fire and sulfurous wafts of brimstone.  
The fumes from the bottle emit the scent of sumptuous vanilla smoke with a lick of honey fire. Crackling wet on the skin, this is the Devil's wedding cake, smeared with buttercream glowing with coals and flame. Tongues of fire licking at vanilla bean ice cream. This is what Calcifer the mischievous fire demon who dwells in Howl's moving castle smells like. More brimstone than campfire with a touch of that velvety incense that brings to mind Holy Terror. In the drydown the vanilla takes on a tonka bean richness that mimics whiskered vanilla woods. Something purring and sweet, yet naughty. 

A Terrible Enchantment- Notes: The scent of a powerful curse created in the dark forest, with oudh, opium smoke, fir, pine, cypress and juniper.
From the glass, blackest oudh and viscid opium burn in the dip of a slipware shard in an old growth forest of immortal trees that know no beginning nor ending. Brushed onto the flesh, fir and juniper boughs weave a camphorous wreath of scent that wraps around the limbs. As it dries, the base smells of dark and furred guaiacwood slivers and sticky smoky opium. Velvety and haunting. Slightly ominous. I adore it.

Initially when I grouped these together for a photoshoot and review feature, I thought it was pretty random. But after testing and wearing and experiencing these scents I can see the common thread of moody darkness that unites them all. These are three very different but very noir perfume oils that will delight those looking for something a bit darker. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Handmade in Florida: Winter Pre-Order

Another easy peasy Handmade in Florida pre-order is in the books. I did repurchase several items so I will just glaze over those and spend more time focusing on the newer items if that is ok with y'all. I don't remember when this pre-order took place... I want to say in November? I misplaced my invoice and email like a naughty blogger. But it arrived around Christmas and was a joy to open.

I did pick Adam up another Moroccan Mint bar of soap ($8), I ordered more Serenity (an amazing spearmint blend $6 for three tarts), Ritual Lavender (soothing herbal velvet lavender $5.50), Lavender Ice (a mellowly minted lavender $5.50) and French Oak & Vanilla (a sweet woodsy delight $5.50).

The Winter Wonderland mystery sampler was the number one item I was eager to buy this go 'round. Zahida teased the most adorable pastel winter village homes and I just knew I needed to have them. They ran $25 per bag and held about 15 ounces of wax. 

Adorable gilded snowflakes came in packages of 3 or 4 and weighed just under an ounce each.

Frosted Berries- Notes: Sweet and spicy blend of berries, amber, vanilla, cinnamon and caramelized sugar. 
This is a charming blend of fruits and spice and sweetness. I love how the caramel adds an element of richness that is unique in a spiced fruit blend like this. I am normally a seasonal melter but this will go in when I am craving a deep comfort scent.

Warm Mittens- Notes: Warm mittens, a toasty fireplace, crisp greenery and musky base notes.
This is a fresh take on winter. It does manage to be warm yet clean, herbal and musky. It smells like a cashmere sweater that has just been shed after a day out in the snowy woods. Warm skin and ozonic snow. I did not think this would throw well on cold, so I put two snowflakes in the warmer and headed to church. When we returned the house smelled fresh and lovely and just like Warm Mittens. It threw a solid medium in the kitchen and living area. It was much better than anticipated and that is always nice. 

The Sugar Mill- Notes: Caramelized sugar, warm vanilla, gooey marshmallow and crisp peppermint.
This one was more subtle that I anticipated on cold. I pick up a cooling soft mint and a touch of plastic vanilla. I melted the house version of this scent in the kitchen and living room warmers and got a surprisingly nice throw of medium in the large areas. The plastic note melted away to reveal a nice creamy vanilla. Very little mint made an appearance in the large area but it might show up better in a smaller room. I liked the scent and would buy it again.

Welcome Winter- Notes: Crisp Pine needles wrapped in warm spices.
This smells like Bath & Body Works Winter candle to me and I love it. Evergreen needles and spice and citrus and a touch of smoke. 

Merry Main Street- Notes: Blackcurrants, raspberries and apples blended with creamy vanilla peppermint and warm musk. 
The blackcurrants and raspberries are wonderfully tart and plump. They pair well with the muted vanilla and beautiful musk. This is a merry Main Street but perhaps in a quaint French village with a touch of refinement and elegance. I don't get much peppermint but maybe it helps to lift the scent so it isn't heavy or syrupy or cloying... because it is not any of those despite the sweet fruits.

Wonderland- Notes: Sweet orange, cinnamon and clove with creamy French vanilla and warm musk. 
This is another unique take on a fruit and spice delight. It is as if instead of a fresh juicy pomander you have the dried orange peels and dusty curls of cinnamon bark sitting in a cupboard in a hand hewn wooden box. The musk and clove combine to make a dusky wooden image. I quite like it.

The Sugar Mill (already melted and reviewed above).

Frosted Gingerbread- Notes: Vanilla frosting, cinnamon sticks, toasted graham crackers and juicy raisins. 
I thoroughly enjoy this toothsome blend. It brings to mind scents like Hansel & Gretel's House and frosted graham crackers. This one is a touch less sweet and a pinch more bready and yeasty. 

Peppermint Place- Notes: Apples, berries, peppermint, pine, clove and warm firewood.
I was reading Jay's review of her Handmade in Florida haul and saw she had this scent. I got excited when I realized I had it in my Winter Wonderland pack. Jay mentioned that this reminds her of Radiant Red Maple and I can see that too. The peppermint in this is a nice addition! I love how the woods and touch of smoke and sweetness really sing with this one. 

Pistachio Macaron whipped sugar scrub ($8) smells like a French delight. It makes the past four seasons of binge watching The Great British Baking Show come to life under my nose. The rose is candied and the pistachio has the most subtle almond marizpan and chewy sugar cookie aroma. The edges are gilded with the light tang of sunny lemon and garnished with one ripe raspberry. I love this scent. 

A sample of Iced Berry Bliss came along with my order too and it smells scrumptious. Like a warm gooey cinnamon roll drizzled with a dark mixed berry syrup.

Free Samples:

Orange Scone- Notes: Freshly baked scone with sweet cranberries, warm butter and a drizzle of orange icing.
The cranberries and orange are vibrant and tart, juicy and mouth puckering in their realism. They are backed by a thick and warm crumbly scone, a touch sweet and definitely bready. This almost reminds me of French baguette and hot orange danish having a baby. 

Mischief- Notes: Dark patchouli, sandalwood, citrus, vetiver and black pepper.
This is a fabulous dupe for Lush's Lord of Misrule. I love this classic take on creamy sweet vanilla patchouli and black pepper. 

Florida Winter- Notes: Juniper berries, fresh eucalyptus, spearmint, sage, midnight jasmine and oakmoss.
This is a lovely fresh and dewy aquatic. No harsh tones at all. Just dripping petals and streams of cool sweet spring water. That fresh Florida water right out of the aquifer and filtered by water cress and limestone. Delish. Good enough to bottle. 

Blackberry Cream Puffs- Notes: Flaky puff pastry, blackberry jam, whipped cream and powdered sugar.
A nice rendition of a fruity bakery pastry. The blackberry jam smells like something I would want to spread on my buttered toast. Seedless and midnight purple jam, dizzyingly lush and dark, sweet and plump. It is quieted a touch by the cream and vanilla and that soft whisper of thin pastry. It would make Mary and Paul proud. 

I am sad to say I withheld and refrained from ordering during the most recent opening at Handmade in Florida. I am truly trying to stick to my low-buy, especially since Savanna has chosen a Lord of the Rings themed birthday party. I have been spending my money on party favors and a Gandalf costume among other things. Shhhhh... don't tell her! But once Zahida has her Valentine's things out for delivery and she opens up again, I will be there. Ready to sniff and melt, bath and scrub. Did you buy anything? 

If you were to plan a Lord of the Rings or Hobbit birthday party, what would you include? So far I have tea tins from Adagio, lapel pins, miniature versions of The Hobbit book, full sized versions of The Hobbit book and the most adorable hobbit hole cookies ever seen.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Absurd Tales of Mr. Griffs

The Absurd Tales of Mr. Griffs is a cute series of short stories that revolve around a semi-crotchety, mostly quirky, old man and his daily adventures and eccentric behaviors. The authors (a brother and sister team) are based out of Australia and run an excellent bookstagram account. I won this first story and trio of greeting cards in a contest. They arrived and I am more than thrilled with them!

The first short story "Never Assume" offers a great moral in a funny manner. Let's just say that Mr. Griffs and his neighbor Mr. Moran don't exactly see eye to eye and that apparently bush turkeys can cause a ruckus in Australia. It was an entertaining and quick read that was perfect for a couple of bubble bath sessions (plenty of perfumed waters much to Mr. Griffs dismay). 

These short stories would be a great way to fulfill that short story suggestion in our reading challenge, posted here

Do you enjoy reading short stories? Isn't Mr. Griff just the cutest? He reminds me a bit of the old man from the movie Up. He is just as fun too. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Vintage Chic Scents: December Restock

I placed one last Vintage Chic Scents order of the year in December. I was gunning for that blasted Pink Twinkling Lights and GUESS WHAT?!?!? I got some! Wheeeeee!!!!

But first up... I did pick up this bag of Fezziwig's Christmas Party. It is a blend of Blue Spruce, balsam, fir, spices and cedar. The Deluxe Blossom Bag is about 16 ounces for $19.70. It smells like a lovely evergreen Christmas scent but was sadly pretty light on throw for my tastes. I am tucking it away for later this year. 

Hey! Look!

Pink Twinkling Lights in the Chantilly Shatter. I picked up two bags. The notes are pink sugar, candy canes, toasted marshmallows and vanilla bean noel. I contemplated picking up more but tried to show some restraint. On cold Pink Twinkling Lights smells of a creamy vanilla and pink sugar confection with just a whiff of icy air behind it. I love it. It threw medium-light in a large area so I think I will save these for my bedroom once I get a replacement warmer in there. There is about 8 ounces of wax for $9.90. 

Finally, I chose a loaf in Mr. Sandman embeds with To Catch a Thief overpour. This Blizzard Loaf was about 15 ounces for $19.10. The rosemary mint of Sandman is quite strong and herbal. Relaxing and minty fresh. I like that To Catch a Thief has some cotton candy mint sweetness to tone down the Sandman a little. It is a nice combo that melts at about a medium throw in a large area. 

I am doing well on my low buy. This and a small Beezy RTS were some of the only December wax purchases I have made. I plan on getting a few things from TDC's tenth anniversary sale in January and not much else after that unless Carol opens. Still trying to save some pennies for some other things. 

Are you on a low or no buy right now? What would you break it for? 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Arcana Wildcraft: Marshmallows Attack! Collection

Arcana Wildcraft brewed up an eclectic line of scents that all contained marshmallows as a muse and common thread that weaves through each scent. I love the artwork and kitchy names of the scents. These pint-sized marshmallow fellas possess some serious attitude!

Marshmallows Pulverize!- Notes: Marshmallows with Black Sand accord (amber resin, black coconut, coconut husks and smoky vetiver).
In the bottle, coconut rind and earthy dank vetiver lift up from the opening. Smeared onto the wrist, amber hardens like sap but that smoky vetiver hovers just over it like an offering. Vetiver smudge sticks, vetiver incense, vetiver haze. Marshmallow sugar swallows the smoke and exhales it in a dizzying breath of exotic smoky sweetness. It eddies and swirls about the body.

Marshmallows Drown!- Notes: Marshmallows with crisp apple, seaweed absolute, rain, fog and a drop of neroli. 
Uncap the wee dram of perfume oil and immediately sweet round apples float in a metal trough full of frosted late October water, waiting for the children to bob for them with eager snapping teeth and smiling lips. Splashed onto the wrists and neroli's keen orange blossom tang cuts into the skin to peel back and reveal a fresh bushel of apples, shining and wreathed in diminutive flowers. Dewdrops perch on the delicate crowns of petals and the swelling mounds of the apples, trembling and glinting. With time the apples fade and the neroli is a lone petal on a quiet pond. Tranquil waters lapping at the wrists. 

Marshmallows Smoke!- Notes: Marshmallows with woodsmoke, dry black tea, dead maple leaves and a hint of vanilla. 
 Black tea leaves, a touch of anise and a tendril of fire roasted marshmallow, smoky and charred, reach the nose upon opening the petite black cap. Steeped into the skin, that smoky black tea emerges, dark and viscous, sweet Southern gothic style. Around the edges of the tea, a freshly raked pile of leaves smolders outside a clapboard bungalow in a Louisiana bayou. A swampy fog shifts the smoky scent trail away and on but the black tea leaves remain. Vanilla embers crawl in and out of the aroma, giving the tea a slight tobacco aura. 

Marshmallows Kick!- Notes: Marshmallows drenched in rich honey and bee pollen with a hint of popcorn.
Dripping out of the neck of the bottle comes dewy honey topped with one salty tear drop. Sweetly melancholy. Once the nectar brushes the skin, honeyed popcorn kernels burst forth, crisp and then chewy. Honey leads with the floury meal tone of bee pollen grains and airy popcorn puffs following behind. The result reminds me of salted honey oat cakes noshed by the glow of a beeswax candle on a foggy Scottish morn. Hearty with a drizzle of honey and a pinch of moodiness. 

Marshmallows Crush!- Notes: Marshmallows with Bourbon vanilla beans, Italian bergamot, pink pepper and French cognac absolute.
Sharp bergamot, like aged orange piths rattling around in an empty brandy flask that bears the scars of use and memory, punch their way up out of the amber glass. Wet on the skin, vanilla beans speckle a bergamot creme anglaise topped with melted marshmallow. Bitter and creamy. Sweet yet sharp. As it dries the sticky marshmallows swell and curl around the citrus, muting it softly. A minute nip of floral pink pepper bites at the nose and nibbles the edges of the mallow. Eventually the flask reappears and the dregs of brandy tease the marshmallow and citrus into lightness. The last swig  is taken. The scent lingers on the tongue.

There are even more naughty and feisty Marshmallows in the collection, however, they will be disappearing by January 10th I believe. The Arcana Wildcraft eBay store is closed for the holidays but these can still be purchased at Nui Cobalt Designs for $20 each. My favorite of these are Marshmallows Smoke! and Marshmallows Drown! as both are very unique and evocative. The marshmallows are not overbearing in any of the scents and offer just a wisp of sweetness.

***Edit: The Arcana eBay store is reopened! They can be purchased there until the 10th!***